A Week in the Life of Heliguy’s Training Team

A Week in the Life of Heliguy’s Training Team

Heliguy Insider talk with a member of the Heliguy Training Team to discuss the day to day role of commercial drone training.

Last updated: Oct 05, 2021

8 minute read

A Week in the Life of Heliguy’s Training Team It’s fair to say, a week as one of the heliguy™ Training Team can be pretty varied. One day, you might be teaching a PfCO course at one of our three venues somewhere in the UK, the next, you could be in a field demonstrating the capabilities of the Zenmuse Z30 camera attached to a DJI Matrice 210 to a group of police officers from a couple of constabularies. From the outside, it seems like an exciting role but what’s it really like? We spoke to our Training Team’s Ben Shirley, an Instructor and Flight Assessor, about one of his busiest weeks in February to find out what he got up to as well as his opinions on the heliguy™ and the drone industry. You may recognise Ben as he has become one of Heliguy’s unofficial video presenters, featuring in videos ‘Introduction to ND Filters for Drones’ and ‘DJI Ronin 2 Review’. Ben from the Training Team


We sat down with Ben to talk about his employment history, what it’s like to be a member of the heliguy™ Training Team and his favourite drone to fly. Keep reading to find out what he said. Can you tell us what you did before working at Heliguy? Before I started with heliguy™, I was in the British Army serving in the Royal Military Police. After leaving the forces I started working as an Enterprise Services Project Manager but found the job rather dull and unfulfilling. Having completed my own PfCO training with Heliguy, I noticed the career opportunity within the Training Team and applied immediately. The rest, as they say, is history! What’s an average day like working on the Training Team? Depending on the planned events, each and every day is different but equally as rewarding. Some days are spent entirely in the flight test field either operating the unmanned aircraft or conducting flight assessments with students. When a course is scheduled, you could spend half the day delivering the course presentations and the other in the office managing the administrative side of training. Can you tell us what you were up to last week?  After a week delivering the PfCO Course in Farnborough, it was back to heliguy™ Headquarters to prepare for the busy week ahead. Monday starts with the usual administration of operations manuals and helping candidates at varying stage of the PfCO process. The following day we were visited by a production company filming for BBC Bitesize so I spent the morning in front of the camera talking about commas and the relevance to the production of an operations manual. Ben Talking to BBC Bitesize Wednesday we travelled down to the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) TV and Radio studios to catch up with a former candidate to see how they were getting on with the SUA. We had the opportunity for a guided tour and watch the news being filmed. Our next stop was the Elvetham Hotel where we usually deliver our Farnborough C-DOT course, however, on this occasion we were there for a very different reason. On Thursday we hosted Simon and a group of young people. Simon previously attended the CDOT course and runs a young person's group in London. He wanted to introduce the group to the world of Drones. The group had the opportunity to get hands-on flying the DJI Inspire 1 under instruction in coach mode and DJI Spark in our indoor net. They also got to explore a range of cameras including the Zenmuse Z30, Thermal XT and X5S to learn about the various applications of SUA and payloads in a range of industries. The day was a great success and identified the next generation of pilots with some very competent piloting skills. Before departing for Newcastle on Friday morning, we met with Daniel for his practical flight assessment. Daniel had an existing aviation qualification which negates the requirement for him to attend the C-DOT Ground School so following the production of this Operations Manual, he was ready to attend the practical flight assessment which I’m pleased to say he passed. Concurrent to this, we also had another candidate join us to re-sit his theoretical examination as he was unsuccessful on his first attempt. Once both were complete, we hit the road Newcastle Bound to prepare for another C-DOT Ground School at our Headquarters in North Shields. DJI Matrice Series Drone Is there anything that helps you with Heliguy’s busy schedule? We have a very close-knit team of instructors and luckily we all have the same sense of humour which is good because we probably spend more time with each other than we do our partners! The rest of the heliguy™ Team work hard to enable us to remain focused on providing the best support to our candidates either whilst attending our courses, after course support and long past the point which they gain their PfCO. Whilst we work hard, but we also get to play hard; flying some of the latest state-of-the-art equipment on the market. We need to be familiar with a large variety of aircraft systems so we can provide advice and guidance to candidates using such systems. What would you say stands out the most from your time at Heliguy? With the UAS industry still being in its infancy, we have the rare opportunity to train individuals in using these amazing machines in ground-breaking and ingenious ways. Teaching is always a great pleasure because candidates have an evident passion and are excited at the concept of introducing drones to their industry. There is a thriving community within the industry and we have our own mechanisms for encouraging relationships with between operators to share knowledge and experience without fear of asking questions or being ridiculed for doing so. What’s your favourite drone to fly and why? In my honest opinion, every aircraft has their own merits and application. With that said, however, I’m a huge advocate of the DJI Matrice 210 when fitted with the Zenmuse Z30 and Thermal XT payloads. This is likely due to my former Military Police background and seeing the capability of the aircraft and payloads in applications such as Search and Rescue (SAR) and inspections. I’m still blown away with zoom capability of the Z30 and the look on people’s faces when demonstrating the functionality. DJI Matrice Series in Flight Is there anything you dislike about the role? In all honesty, there is not a single element of the role which I dislike. There are of course the more mundane tasks which must be completed, however, through close team cohesion and a strong company ethos of customer service, there is a real sense of pride in everything we achieve. The dreaded Monday mornings are well and truly a thing of the past. What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for a role with Heliguy? Get familiar with operating the aircraft and build intricate knowledge of the systems. You'll be expected to provide valued, honest advice and guidance to customers so knowing which aircraft and payload would suit their requirements is a must. You must also be passionate about the industry because you will spend the majority of your work and free time talking to people about these fantastic machines and what they can achieve. What makes heliguy™ different from other drone retailers? We pride ourselves on being personable. When you contact us, you know who you're speaking to because we take the time to get to know our customers. We keep in close contact with our customers and find that even years later, people come back to us and are surprised that we remember them. Tom from heliguy™ Training Team

heliguy™ Training Team Job Role

The main role of the heliguy™ Training Team is the delivery of Heliguy’s CAA approved commercial drone operator training. Training is based in Newcastle, Manchester and Farnborough and includes the following three stages:
  • Delivering the three-day, classroom-based Ground School in which students learn about UK air law, safe drone operation, airspace operating principles and the equipment used for flight. Students must prove competency by taking a theory test at the end of the course.
  • Reviewing Operations Manuals to ensure they meet Heliguy’s high standards approved by the CAA.
  • Conducting Flight Assessments to test the student’s control over the drone and real-world application of safety checks and notification.
In addition to the standard commercial operator training, tailor-made training sessions are also delivered including an ES-DOT course for all types of Emergency Services. The Training Team also deliver equipment demonstrations to a wide range of clients, from creative to industrial. This mean, keeping up to date with the latest technology from the UAV industry is key. Training Group Farnborough


Working at heliguy™, you get to join an exciting and well-founded industry that’s in its early stages. There is potential to grow and develop within the role and have a real effect on the industry. The heliguy™ Training Team are one of the best in the UK because they truly care about everyone who attends each and every course. If you think you’d be the kind of person who would fit in our team, drop us an email with your CV and a covering letter to info@heliguy.com. For further vacancies, head to our website here. heliguy™ Training
To discuss any information from the above post or any DJI or Freefly product, please give one of our team a call on 0191 296 1024 or email us at info@heliguy.com.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

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